Video Proof: NYC About to Be the City That Has It All
Earlier this week we lamented that you can’t ride a mechanical bull in these parts without first riding the PATH train. That’s fixin’ to change tomorrow, when subterranean Tex-Mex spot Johnny Utah’s opens with a $25,000 mechanical bull front-and-center in a seventeen-foot-diameter ring (the law requires eight feet on each side). The beast, which will have nonfunctional “grazing” and functional “running-of-the-bulls” hours, was custom-built and trucked in from Idaho by a cowboy-writer named Cody, who the owners (also involved in Gin Lane) say is “the bull guy” (visit mechanicalbulls.com if you want your own). “Our mechanical bull is our mascot,” says Bobby Rossi (the mascot, by the way, costs $10,000 per year to insure). “We’re not an adult Chuck E. Cheese.”
‘Next Food Network Star’ Contestant Accused of Fudging Past; ScottEx-Marine Josh Adam Garcia, one of the standout contestants on The Next Food Network Star, is accused of lying about both his military service and graduating from cooking school. [Marine Corps Times]
Scott Conant has Miami and New York projects on the horizon. And his go-to restaurants in New York are Daniel, Café Boulud, Daisy May’s, Blue Smoke, and Tsushima. [RG]
Some food-world heavy hitters recollect their greatest meat moments, as a follow-up to yesterday’s Times story about the fatty times we live in. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Old Frenchmen Pass Facial Inspection at GoldBar in Little ItalyBrooklyn Heights: “Closed by the Commissioner of Health” clearly taken lightly at Heights Cafe where diners have been spotted munching the mediocre fare. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Chelsea: Richard Ruben, author of The Farmer’s Market Cookbook, will host classes at the Institute of Culinary Education starting June 1 that begin with an ingredient hunt at Union Square’s Greenmarket. [Blog Chelsea]
East Hampton: Restaurants open seven days starting this weekend, including Nick & Toni’s and Harbor Bistro. [Hamptons.com]
Fort Greene: Locals search for answers to the fate of the space at Lafayette and Cumberland Avenues, have high hopes for Thai but as yet no answers. [Brooklyn Record]
Little Italy: A two-way mirror intensifies the door policy at GoldBar, but if you have a face like an old Frenchman, you shouldn’t have a problem. [Down by the Hipster]
Prospect Heights: Flatbush Farm hosting another barbecue this weekend. [Eater]
Chodorow, While Still Bitter, Lifts Ban on PlattAdam Platt and Frank Bruni are no longer banned from Jeffrey Chodorow’s restaurants. Even though, says the restaurateur, Platt “missed the whole point of Wild Salmon.” [Restaurant Girl]
Related: Salmon Cured? [NYM]
In a revealing interview, Marco Pierre White takes a stand against the star-chef game: “Can you imagine: You take your wife out to my restaurant for dinner, and I’m not behind the stove. You find out I’m in America — how would you feel when you’ve just done $1,200 for dinner? It’s a sour taste, isn’t it?” [Salon]
Thomas Keller announces that he isn’t really the man at Per Se: “I [speak] as someone who is somewhat detached from it because it is a Jonathan Benno restaurant.” [MSN]
What to Eat Tonight
Appearing Tonight: Soft-shell Crabs at Anthos and Lamb Trio at Café Boulud
Every Thursday we’ll tell you what specials some of the city’s best restaurants have planned for that night. This week: Spring vegetables, the first fish of the warm seasons, and a few delicious holdovers from the cold winter months.
Anthos: Pan-fried soft-shell crabs, breaded in water chestnut flour, served over a smoked egg vinaigrette with lovage, white asparagus, spring green almonds, and pickled pearl red onions. 36 W. 52nd St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-582-6900.
Café Boulud: Lamb trio: braised lamb neck, roasted and confited lamb loin, and lamb kefta (spiced ground-lamb turnover), garnished with red lentils, carrots, and almond-stuffed prunes. 20 E. 76th St., nr. Madison Ave..; 212-772-2600.
Gramercy Tavern: Suckling-pig porchetta, stuffed with house-made fennel sausage and Swiss chard, and served on a bed of rutabaga purée with grilled Swiss-chard leaves and braised Swiss-chard stems. 42 E. 20th St., nr. Park Ave. S.; 212-477-0777.
JoJo: Grilled organic pork chop, marinated with Chinese cumin and honey, and served with wild ramps and fava beans. 160 E. 64th St., nr. Lexington Ave..; 212-223-5656.
Blue Smoke: Barbecued organic turkey with apple sausage stuffing and bacon-braised collard greens. 116 E. 27th St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-447-7733.
Back of the House
The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party Steamrolls the OppositionThe Danny Meyer broadcasting service just put out the word: The Big Apple Barbecue Block Party is on for this year. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Although the annual June bonanza is hugely popular, it’s also massively challenging. Past barbecuers have expressed much dismay that souvenirs and T-shirts yield very little profit (food profits go to the Madison Park Conservancy), and that the travel allowance doesn’t cover the cost of transporting heavy smoking equipment across hundreds of miles.
Hill Country to Challenge Blue Smoke, RUB on Their Own TurfHill Country BBQ, we’ve learned from owner Mark Glosserman, has officially signed its lease and begun construction at 30 West 26th Street, just a few blocks from Blue Smoke and RUB . Isn’t it bad medicine to open so close to a pair of established, busy barbecues? Says Glosserman: “It’s a great spot, and the price was right, and we’re in a big office building, so there will be a lot of traffic even though it’s a side street. We have a lot of faith in our product.” No doubt. But we actually like Hill Country’s chances. New Yorkers have shown a willingness to go the extra mile to eat great barbecue: Daisy May’s BBQ sat on a desolate stretch of Eleventh Avenue and didn’t even have tables; RUB ran out of meat every night; Blue Smoke barely had any smoke flavor during its first year, as a result of chimney malfunction. Glosserman hired the best barbecue cooker in the city, Robert Richter. If Hill Country delivers the goods, New Yorkers will support it … right?
Rude Questions for Danny MeyerÜber-restaurateur Danny Meyer will be at Bottlerocket Wine and & Spirits tonight talking about his new book, Setting the Table. If we had the courage, we’d fire off the following questions at the event.
Where Do I Feed Texas Tourists? Also: Is There a God?Dear Grub Street,
I have some friends coming into town from Texas and want to recommend a great restaurant to them. I think they’d appreciate a Texas theme, but I’m not sure if Lonesome Dove is really the way to go, or if Blue Smoke or Dinosaur are better bets instead. Money doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.
The best barbecue in New York is RUB. They have great burnt ends, a beef-brisket treat any meat-eating Texan can appreciate. But they’re not going to get better Texas food here than at home. I would take them to Great N.Y. Noodletown for Chinese spareribs. Or, if money really isn’t an issue, this may be your one chance for a meal at Masa!
Heroic Blogger Saves Burger Lovers From Winter of DiscontentAdam Kuban, editor of A Hamburger Today and a Yahoo Food blogger, has solved a problem that has perplexed New York’s burgerphiles for a long time now: Shake Shack will close for the winter on December 1, and the city will once again be stripped of its most acclaimed burger. How can one hope to sate that singular Shake Shack craving? Tantalizingly, Blue Smoke (owned, like the Shack, by Danny Meyer) uses the same meat mixture — but their burgers are twice the size, making for an almost grotesque substitute. Ordering one of them is like asking to borrow dad’s Corvette and getting the Lincoln; it’s great, but it’s the opposite of what you have in mind. Inspired in a rather literal way by King Solomon, Kuban has devised a bold and brilliant work-around: Ask the kitchen to split the burger in half. Of course, were it not for the cooperation of the restaurant, all would be lost. Blue Smoke general manager Mark Maynard-Parisi tells Kuban that “the restaurant is happy to make two 4.5-ounce burgers for the same price as the single nine-ounce sandwich on its menu ($11.50, comes with fries; cheese and bacon each $1 extra).” Not only do you get a nice approximation of the Shake Shack’s burger in winter, you also don’t have to stand in line for it. If the hamburger world had a meritorious public-service award, Adam Kuban would have just earned it.
Blue Smoke on the Cheap [A Hamburger Today]
Back of the House
Barbecue: The New Kosher Food?Reading about the launch of Blue Smoke in Danny Meyer’s new book Setting the Table, we had an epiphany. It’s somehow happened that, in the midst of the greatest barbecue boom New York has ever seen, nearly all of the cuisine’s major restaurants are either owned or operated by Jews. Given the wide berth our people have historically given pork, this seems worth commenting on. Meyers’s launching of Blue Smoke was just the beginning. Josh Cohen has just reopened Biscuit in Park Slope; Adam Perry Lang has become a major star in competition BBQ, in addition to launching his Daisy May’s empire; Andrew Fischel’s RUB was anointed by Adam Platt as the city’s best barbecue; and the field will only become further Semiticized this spring, when Mark Glosserman and Robert Richter launch Hill Country BBQ in the Flatiron district. Don’t get us wrong. There are some very fine Gentile barbecuers in New York: John Wheeler at Rack & Soul and John Stage at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que are both expert practitioners. Still, we’re surprised someone didn’t coined the phrase sooner: Bar-B-Jew.